The New York Mets have been keeping pace with the red-hot Atlanta Braves at the top of the National League East to start the season. However, Mets owner Steve Cohen is investing $144 million MORE in payroll than Atlanta in 2023. One would assume that in year three, the primary stakeholder has higher expectations this season than a wild-card-round loss at Citi Field.
It is no secret that the New York Mets early season struggles on the mound have fans panicking. Justin Verlander isn't expected to make his Mets debut until late April and Carlos Carasco has been hammered by the Marlins. Add in Max Scherzer's struggles against Milwaukee and, well, all-out mayhem has set-in.
So much has to go right for a major league team to play 162 games, win all of their playoff series and then four games in the World Series, against the other league's best team. Even more would have to go right for the Amazin' Mets.
It is an age-old story in New York. When the iconic Yankees are good, they rule the region. In fact, it was 65 years years ago that the Bronx Bombers' National League neighbors, the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers abandoned their fanbases and moved across the country. Many believed the move was primarily done to get away from the powerful lure of the team in pinstripes. Many decades later and billions of dollars ready to spend, Mets owner Steve Cohen is at least trying to put up a fight for his Queens franchise.
If the New York Mets want to be a perennial playoff team, then they have to make decisions with their head and not their heart. Faced with the prospect of paying their free-agent, ace right-hander, Jake deGrom for the next 3 or 4 years, at $40 plus million per, Amazin's general manager Billy Eppler had better think long and hard about the investments that he makes over the next year, as Mets president-in-waiting David Stearns bides his time, collecting checks from the Milwaukee Brewers and making notes on his future employees.
As the winter months edge closer, New York Mets fans will begin to soften on the disappointments of their team's 101 win season. Then they will reflect on the sound of "Narco" by Timmy Trumpet blaring out of the Citi Field speakers, as the crowd rose its feet and closer Edwin Diaz jogged from the bullpen. It was a good season for the Mets and especially on the mound. Fortunately for fans and the organization, the pitching coach behind that success, Jeremy Hefner, looks to be returning.
Conventional wisdom for most New York Mets fans would see right-handed ace Jacob deGrom starting Game 1 of this weekend's Wild Card series. Ace (1A) Max Scherzer would get the nod for Game 2 followed by Chris Bassitt in Game 3, if necessary. These are the precise circumstances owner Steve Cohen and general manager Billy Eppler hired Buck Showalter to manage their baseball team. In most Major League Baseball situations, Buck's been there and a little unconventional wisdom, from his Yankees managerial days, may get the Mets deep into the playoffs.
Friday night may have been the most important game of the 2022 regular season for the New York Mets, actually I think it is Saturday but we'll get to that later. Manager Buck Showalter re-arranged the pitching rotation to start Jacob deGrom in Game 1 in Atlanta, much like you will expect to see in the upcoming playoffs against whomever the Mets face, in whatever series they are in. However, there was much more on the line for deGrom and Mets owner Steve Cohen.